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Muttemwar too fails as Sonia's monitor of central schemes

By A Correspondent
October 28, 2011 15:04 IST
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The appointment of Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar, a former Union minister, in July as the party's general secretary to monitor central programmes appears to have failed in delivering any results so far.

Party sources said party President Sonia Gandhi may assign Muttemwar's task to someone else. The Congress is desperate to institutionalise political monitoring of the United Progressive Alliance government's flagship programmes, specially in the opposition-ruled states, but every attempt has come cropper.

Sonia Gandhi exhorted the party workers in several AICC sessions to be eyes and ears of the party in monitoring these programmes and report back the failings, but it did not work.

Muttemwar was tasked with creation of a mechanism across the country to keep a tab on delivery of the central schemes and give feedback to the party on corruption or misuse of funds under these schemes as the party's political fortunes are tied to these schemes.

Initially he sulked as his expectations were for a ministerial berth, but he accepted the political assignment after Sonia Gandhi reportedly explained to him how important the responsibility is.

All that the 62-year-old Muttemwar, a Lok Sabha member for the seventh term, has, however, done is to first write to the state units and then call up each Pradesh Congress Committee president, pleading to set up a infrastructure of monitors at state, district and block level. 

It, however, did not work since he neither provided them any action plan on how the monitors should go about checking implementation of the programmes nor did he explain how the party will apply correctives to curb the irregularities they are supposed to report back. 

The party sources say leaders in many states are interested in the monitoring mechanism, but they are not clear who will coordinate the party workers who keep a tab on implementation of the programmes and how reports of the ordinary workers will reach the top for necessary action.

Their worry is that the authorities will shoo away ordinary Congress workers trying to poke their nose as they will have no locus standi to make assessment of the programmes and question any irregularities, laxity or corruption. Unless the party gets them some identity and authorisation from the central government as its monitors, the scheme will not take off and the rot in the central programmes will continue, the state leaders affirm.

Muttemwar is, however, now toying with the idea of holding the state-level conventions in the poll-bound opposition-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand to brief party workers on the purpose of monitoring the flagship programmes of the Centres like National Rural Employement Guarantee Act, National Rural Health Mission, Bharat Nirman, Urban Renewal Mission and the mid-day meals scheme in schools.

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A Correspondent in New Delhi
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